2020 has been an unprecedented year with the COVID-19 pandemic. Singapore’s economy is expected to contract 6% to 6.5% in 2020, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI)’s forecast. With a record drop in employment (over 100,000 people become unemployed) in the first half of 2020, the labour market has been hard hit.
If you are a job seeker, these grim statistics may seem disheartening but don’t lose hope. With vaccines in sight and better understanding and management of the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore’s economy is expected to recover and grow by 4% to 6% in 2021. Likewise, the labour market sentiment is also turning positive. According to an employment outlook survey by ManpowerGroup, about 20% of employers are looking to hire more staff in 2021.
Here are the 4 sectors that are expected to do well in 2021.
One of the sectors singled out as Tier 3B in the Job Support Scheme (JSS), the finance sector is expected to perform well enough to do without the crutches of government’s wage support. The wage support under JSS will end in December 2020 for the finance sector due to their strong performance even during the most trying period of Circuit Breaker. The finance and insurance sector averaged a growth of 4.7% in the first 3 quarters of 2020, amidst the unfavourable economic climate.
A pilot Employment Outlook Survey conducted by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in June 2020 showed that FIs are planning to create about 1,800 jobs from July 2020 to June 2021. This is in line with the ManpowerGroup’s employment outlook survey, which projects a fair employment outlook for the finance, insurance and real sector in 2021.
According to the 16th edition of Jobs Situation Report by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), there are 5,200 available opportunities in the finance and 96% were for PMET roles such as compliance, risk management, financial analysis, software development, relationship management and data analysis with salaries ranging from $4,850 to $10,500.
With the issuance of the digital bank licences, a new digital exchange for cryptocurrencies, SGFinDex and a resilient (and perhaps even booming) property market, the finance sector has many exciting developments and room to grow in 2021.
#2 Information, Communications and Technology (ICT)
Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) is another sector that is classified as Tier 3B under the Job Support Scheme. In fact, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran has spoken in Parliament on multiple occasions to iterate the push for digitalisation and the availability of jobs in the sector, especially in cyber security, digital marketing and data analytics.
The pandemic has accelerated digitalisation for many industries, with even hawkers and seniors moving to cashless payments, the move towards digital solutions is inexorable and the ICT sector is set to expand.
However, not all companies within the sector are in such a rosy situation. Depending on the classification, traditional media and communications companies may or may not be considered under ICT and these companies may be struggling to keep up with the pace of digitalisation. For example, Singapore Press Holdings held a significant retrenchment exercise in 2020.
Instead, much of the job growth is concentrated in the technology aspect of the sector. However as indicated in the 16th edition of MOM’s Job Situation Report, you don’t have to be a technology expert to work in the sector. Aside from tech-specialist roles such as software, web and application developments, there are also tech-lite roles such as customer successful manager, and digital marketing specialist which may be suitable for applicants without infocomm technology background or experience.
The unexpected job sector that took everyone by surprise, healthcare was in the spotlight in 2020. From the news about swabbers being paid more than nurses, to SIA service staff transiting into patient care, the profile of the healthcare sector as an employer has risen significantly. People have a greater appreciation of healthcare workers as they see healthcare workers rising to the occasion during the pandemic.
Healthcare is expected to continue doing well in 2021, with vaccine distribution being a key factor driving the optimism for 2021. Even without the pandemic, the healthcare sector is set to grow and expand to accommodate the needs of an aging population. Before the focus was shifted to COVID-19, eldercare and gerontology were the fastest growing areas of healthcare and they are set to continue in 2021.
Collaborative projects such as the Community Care Apartments highlight the changing and expanding nature of healthcare. Similar to ICT, you don’t have to be a healthcare specialist to join the sector. There are many support roles in healthcare for applicants who do not have any specialist healthcare knowledge or background.
While most people do not think of Singapore as a manufacturing hub, Singapore does have significant manufacturing capabilities, especially in advanced manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing is Singapore’s largest contributor to GDP at 20.9% in 2019.
With the rest of the world still reeling from recurrent waves of COVID-19, Singapore’s manufacturing capacity has been relatively unaffected. In the third quarter of 2020, manufacturing grew by 10% year-on-year, boosted by biomedical and electronics, according to the Ministry of Trade Industry’s Economic Survey Of Singapore Third Quarter 2020.
In particular, manufacturing sector is projected to continue its growth, especially for electronics and precision engineering due to strong semiconductor demand from the 5G market.
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